When a journalist tried to jump to his death he meets Lucifer, the Angel of music, the Bringer of Light, Satan, the Devil…
In one night Lucifer tells a story that would chance the fate of the world forever. He recounts the creation and how he was the one that created it, and reveals all about his brother, God.
Have you ever had that feeling of not wanting to live anymore? I had that feeling last Friday night on the way back from my high school reunion. I’m not completely sure what triggered it. Maybe it was my lack of making something of myself like most of the others did. I wasn’t a doctor, a famous writer or even a business man. I don’t have the wife and the 2.5 child average, living behind a white picket fence in the suburbs. No, at 35 years old I was still the same journalist of a small paper with a circulation of ten thousand papers per week, reporting about stuff that nobody particularly cared about. I was still single, living in the same apartment with the roof starting to cave in Even the water pipes was not working very well.
Maybe realizing this was the trigger that made me pull over on the side of the bridge, get out of my car and climb onto the top of the railing that separated me from being alive and ending my boring existence. As I stood there in that windless night, it did go through my mind that nobody would even miss me. I don’t think that even my mother would realize I was dead until she couldn’t get hold of me on my birthday, which was still about ten months away. It’s not like I heard from her at all over the years. Mainly just when she wanted to wish me a happy birthday and remind me about the pain she had to go through with my delivery. Every three years or so I drag myself over the country to see her in her crap little house, where the remembrance of what a failure I was clung to the walls in the forms of stupid photographs and mediocre school certificates.
It was in the realization that I would be dead for months before even the paper I work at would truly know I was missing that I decided to jump to my own death and freedom. I had not accomplished in getting any answers to the secrets of life, but I was sure going to find some secrets in death. And as I made myself ready to plumage to my own end a voice right next to me suddenly spoke.
“Nothing to live for anymore?”
I didn’t see him boom out of nowhere, but there he was standing right next to me on the ledge that would lead me to my own doom. I forgot that I wanted to jump as I looked at his long blonde hair that rustled as if a wind was blowing, even though there was no source that would have been able to blow anything in any direction. His face looked like a sculpture in the perfect ivory, but it was his eyes that drew me the most. Almost clear, so light was the blue that sucked in my soul and radiated a feeling of love in my body of the likes of which I had never experienced in my life.
“So, are you planning to jump or are you waiting for a sign from the heavens? Because let me tell you one thing, if you are waiting for a sign from above, you will still be standing on this edge by the time the sun finally burns out.”
The stranger’s lips enthralled me. Every word like a musical note vibrating through my veins in a sense of remembrance of something wonderful that I must have known at some time in the past. And still I could not answer him. I did not know what to say. What do you say to a person when they urge you to jump towards your own death? Maybe you should just jump and get it over with?
“If you wanted to die you would’ve jumped already,” the stranger said as he slowly lowered himself and sat down on the ledge, exposing his knees that peered through his torn white jeans.
“I don’t have a reason for living,” I barely got the words from my mouth, still standing, frozen on the same spot.
“I’ve felt like that many times in my life. Sometimes I feel like that a few times a day. Sometimes I even get days and weeks where I can think about nothing but killing myself in lack of just not having anything else to hold on too. Sometimes that feeling fuels me to hold on. Sometimes it breaks me down even worse. But I always get up and hope for the best. It doesn’t really matter what you do, life is never simple. Nobody is ever truly happy. But it wasn’t meant to be that way. Nothing is like it was supposed to be back in the beginning. But wait, I’m rambling and you still want to jump don’t you?” the beautiful stranger said as I still watched his strong jaw move up and down, almost for a second wishing I could kiss his lips and taste ultimate consumption. I couldn’t believe he was actually still urging me to jump. For a moment I thought of it just being some sort of manipulation to get me of the ledge, but the more I looked at him, the more I saw the nonchalant look in his eyes, and discovered that he truly didn’t care if I lived or died.
“I don’t want to die. It’s just that I don’t want to particularly live either.” I was surprised by the sound escaping my lips. It was like he drew the very words from my heart.
“I know that feeling well. Why don’t you get down from that ledge now? You just said you don’t want to die, so why are you still standing there?”
“Because I still have nothing to live for.”
“And if I said I could offer you something that will change your entire existence? That I can grant you purpose beyond anything that any human on earth can bring you?” The stranger caught my eyes, staring deeper and deeper into my soul, as if he was scanning my spirit and my answer before I could even give it to him.
“Then I would say that you would have to be God,” I replied, slowly turning around and starting to climb down from the ledge.
“You’re a journalist right?” the stranger asked.
“How did you…” I started but he didn’t wait for my full reply.
“One of the reasons that you were just standing on that ledge was because you just came from your high school reunion, and let’s face it. Since then you have accomplished nothing more than you did the day you walked out of that school. You have not met anybody who you felt close to. You are a failure in love, life and success. You failed in everything that was humanly possible. And by fail I do mean that you never tried, because trying and trying again and sometimes falling is not failing. Failure is when you give up or never even bother to try in fear of failing. The moment you get to that point you have failed worse than anybody has ever failed before.”
He was standing in front of me. Each hand on either side of my head, looking me directly in the eyes and pushing me into the ledge which I was at that moment wishing would give way beneath me and let me fall to my death. Everything the stranger was saying was the truth. It scared me. It made me feel that I was somehow a cheat for still being alive and breathing.
“So now little man I give you one choice. Take me back to your place and I will give your life meaning, or climb back on that ledge and die the death of a coward who never even bothered to live, just stealing the oxygen out of the air, while another better man could’ve taken your place. Decide and decide quickly, but if you decide to go with me I will place the burden that I need to carry on your shoulders. Yes, I shall give you true purpose in life, but you will never be the same and you will never be able to stand on the ledge of a bridge ever again, because the knowledge that I possess will change you. It will make you a better or worse man. It will give you power, or it will strip you of all the humanity that you hold so dear to your heart.”
I didn’t even notice that he was holding me up until the moment he stepped away and I sank unto the ground. Not sure what to make of my thoughts. Not even sure if I was even still alive. I never asked for a sign as to leave this word or not, but I guess in some manner a sign did find me, but it was still giving me the opportunity to choose.
“How can you give my life purpose in one single night?” I asked as I looked up to the young Adonis, obviously so much younger than me.
“By telling you a story you have never heard and will never hear again,” he said and shook his head as he turned around and walked over to my car, as if waiting for me to follow him.
“I haven’t decided yet!” I shouted after him.
“If you decided differently you would’ve jumped twenty minutes ago!” he shouted back as he climbed into my car and leaned over to open the door of the driver side from inside.
“What the heck. If he kills me, he would just be ending what I already started,” I mumbled as I got up, dusted my pants and walked over to the car to invite a stranger whose name I don’t even know into my life, my car and my apartment.
It was like his closeness didn’t even give me time to think. As if his beauty took away any chance that I had of logical reasoning.
The car ride was silent for the first few miles. Feeling awkward, just having picked up a stranger, I decided to break the silence that was tempting me to stop, get out of the car and run for my life.
“What did you say your name was again?” I knew very well he never told me his name, but I didn’t want to be too direct either.
“Never gave it,” he answered.
“Are you going to tell me your name then?”
I wasn’t sure if he was joking. I didn’t want to take the chance of taking the beautiful stranger to seriously and end up looking like a fool.
“You’re joking right? I mean, nobody is named Lucifer.”
“No. My name is Lucifer,” he answered, obviously not finding me funny or even interesting enough to look at as he kept on staring at the road.
“Seriously?” I asked, and without waiting for a reply added: “That must have gotten some real attention on the playground huh? I mean, I can only imagine the kids calling you evil and everything.”
“I have been called many things. Evil being one of the nicest of it all.”
“Yep, I can only imagine that. They probably called you stuff like Satan, Devil, demon, the beast, and many other things hey?” I tried to keep the conversation going.
“Yes. All of those and many, many others. But you get used to it. At first it hurts, but after a while you just don’t care anymore. Sticks and stones, you know,” Lucifer answered.
“Still. Must have been a heavy burden to carry? I would’ve probably changed my name.”
“I have always been proud of my name. It means ‘to bring light’.” I could feel the annoyance radiating from the stranger.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend or anything. I know what it means, but the association with the devil and absolute evil kind of sometimes trumps the entire real meaning of the name. I mean, would you want to be seen as the devil himself? He is like crazy-ass evil. Killing and dragging people down to hell and everything. Haven’t you read the Bible?” I replied.
“Do you ever think that maybe the devil was innocent? That people believe what they want to believe? That every story has two sides and that the Bible was written by man for man?” He answered my questions with a load of more questions. “You seem a little close minded for a journalist, don’t you think?”
“Yes, that’s true. We do tend to believe what we want to believe.”
I was taken aback. This stranger had the ability to force me to review everything I had thought to have known as the truth. That was what I always strived to be. That was the reason why I became a journalist in the first place. To be able to show both sides of the story. The sides which usually stayed hidden beneath the surface, never to be known. It just sort of got lost in trying to live life, and now I didn’t know what I stood for anymore. As he followed me up the stairs, and to door number 18, I still kept my mouth shut in hopes of not aggravating him to peer into the depths of the soul again. Then I would rather accept death as my equal and walk to meet him.
It wasn’t that I didn’t just want to let him in because he was a total stranger. The fact was that I was a bachelor, and I hadn’t cleaned the apartment in days. All I could think about was the tiny one room apartment, with the dirty clothes in front of my bed and the sink running over with dirty dishes.
“I didn’t have time to clean… Didn’t know anybody was coming over you see,” I mumbled my feeble excuses as I opened the door and waved Lucifer inside.
As he walked ahead of me I had for only a fleeting second an urge to turn around and run away as fast as I could, but his presence seemed to draw me in, just as it drew me to the car, to follow him in. There was just something mysteriously wonderful about him that I could not put my finger on, no matter how hard I tried.
“Do you mind if I sit?” Lucifer asked just as I walked over and tried to pick up some of my dirty clothing.
“Sure, go ahead,” I said still fumbling with making my living space seem more like a place a human would inhabit, and failing miserably at it.
“Would you also come and sit?” Lucifer asked, breaking my concentration as I watched him gracefully sit down at the small kitchen table that only had two chairs left. When I bought it from an old lady it had three chairs, but an incident with a light bulb a few months ago broke the other chair as well as my left arm.
“I just want to finish here,” I stated the obvious, standing with the dirty clothes in my hands, with no idea what to actually do with it.
“I’ve already seen it, so what is the point in hiding the mess now?” Lucifer answered as he waved his hand towards the empty chair across from him. “I would like to get started. The night is short and my story is long.”
“So you really are going to tell me a story?” I felt relieved, and at the same time I was disappointed at my heart beating in my chest and nothing except a man wanting to pour his heart out now sitting in front of me.
“Didn’t I say that was what I would give you?”
“Yes… I just… I expected…”
“You expected me to be a murderer, rapist or a thief?” he said what I was thinking.
“Well… Can you blame me?” I asked, blushing only a bit.
“Probably not. I must say it wasn’t hard to convince you to bring me home with you. Not in a world like you live in,” he said seeming thoughtful.
“No it wasn’t,” I said as I sat down. Lucifer looked me up and down, frowning a bit which made him look even sexier than I had originally noticed. That in itself scared me.”
“Won’t you need a tape recorder? Or at the very least a pen and paper? Or do you have a memory that will allow you to remember everything I tell you in the most perfect detail and sequence?” he asked the only question that wasn’t on my mind at all.
“Uhm… Yes, sorry… Uhm, let me just…” I mumbled, feeling ashamed at being so disorganized, quickly passing the space between the table and my bedside table where a tape recorder was waiting. It took me a few minutes to scratch around and find some tape. There wasn’t any clear ones, so an old Roxette album was going to have to bite the dust.
“I’m ready,” I said as I finally sat down across from him.
“Are you sure that you want your life to change beyond any human measure?”
I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. It wasn’t as if one story could completely change my life, but obviously Lucifer believed that his story was truly unique.
“Sure,” I said.
“I am older than you think,” he suddenly said to me, leaning over the table, close enough that if I were to lean just a little bit forward our lips would touch.
For a moment I scanned his face, taking in every feature, line and mark, trying to calculate how old he really could be.
“So you are about twenty-eight at the very most?” I actually lied. He didn’t look a day older than twenty-three to me, but I wanted to humor him.
“No. I am much, much older than that.”
“Are you serious?”
“I am millenniums old. I am older than the time you know. Older than the mountains and older than all of the creation that you see before you,” Lucifer said as he sat back into the chair, leaving me to look at him as if he was a complete lunatic.
“You are serious?” I said, trying my best to keep my laugh inside me and not burst out in fits of loud laughter.
“Very much so. I know everything about everything. I know about the creation of your world, the secrets to God and the very fiber of your soul.”
His eyes kept me from laughing. I so badly wanted to believe every word that he said. I wanted to believe that he was the very first being, the only perfect being to ever walk the earth, but it did not work that way. I had always been logical. I have learned over many years not to look for the majesty in something and that most of the time the simplest solution is the correct one.
“You mean that you are like thousands of years old?” I asked, still not sure if I should swallow his story. My heart was screaming to me that he was telling the truth as he kept my eyes captive, but my brain screamed the exact opposite, telling me this guy might be perfect on the outside, but on the inside he had to be seriously screwed up.
“I am Lucifer. The Bringer of the Light. The one that was with God at the very beginning and who shall be with him at the very end. You know me by the names of Satan, Set, the Devil and the Triple Six Beast, but as you can see I’m just Lucifer. The rest are just fanciful tales and names made up by man in order to have someone to blame whenever they do not want to take responsibility for their actions.”
Now I really thought that Lucifer was crazy. I thought about how crazy you have to be to believe that you are the Devil. At least I thought clear enough to be able to play along. If all else fails at least I would have an interesting story to tell my grandchildren one day, if I ever had any.
“So you are the Devil and you know God on a personal level?”
“He is my brother. But I will explain everything. For now I just need you to believe that what I am telling you is the truth. I am not crazy, and I can answer you any question about your life right now. Ask me anything.”
I had to think for a while, but I knew that there was only one thing this stranger could not know about at all. Not unless he was psychic or something.
“What happened on the 17th of November 1997? What did I do that was of great significance?”
“It was your birthday, so you stood up very early that morning. You were excited, hoping that maybe your mother would not be drunk and that your father would have come home, like he always did on your birthday. Up to this year it had always been the one day of the year that your family was normal. However the day did not work out that way. You found your mother on the living room floor, covered in her own vomit. Even then you still believed that as soon as your father came home everything would be okay. So you helped her up, cleaned her up and put her in bed, with hopes that she would sober up before your dad came home. You knew there had to be a present for you somewhere in the house, so you started searching through the entire house, but found nothing. It seemed like your mother had forgotten your birthday. After that you curled up on the porch with your favorite book and only stood up three times in total for something to drink. By the time night fell you knew that your father wasn’t coming and your mother would not be sobering up. In actual fact, within the next hour when you went to check on her she was sitting behind her bed, drinking and already drunk as a skunk. You were in outrage, you wanted to kill her with every fiber in your body. Instead you stormed outside, and found your mother’s beloved little dog in the wrong place at the wrong time. You broke his neck with one swing of the baseball bat that was laying nearby. You left the dog there for your mother to find the next day, taking your revenge on the world. After that day you never celebrated your birthday ever again.”
He recounted the entire day in so much detail that I couldn’t help but believe his every word from that moment on. That day was the darkest day of my life thus far, and the moment I did the most terrible thing in my life. The moment I took a life. It didn’t matter that it was a dog, since it was still a life that I took. I was still ashamed about that one sin that nobody knew about, and I had never told it to anybody, so the fact that the stranger knew that was strange. No, I still didn’t believe he was actually the Devil, but I was willing to play along from this moment on. How could I not? He knew my greatest secret and my biggest vulnerability after all.
“Are you willing to listen to me now?” Lucifer asked.
“Yes. Okay, sure, I believe,” I said, but I was still so dumbstruck that it didn’t truly sink in just quite yet.
“In that case I will tell you my story, so get that tape recorder ready.”
It took me a few moments to put the tape into the deck with my trembling hands, and then another few moments to rewind the tape to the very beginning. In a way I wanted to keep him from speaking, scared he would tell me even more things about myself I tried to forget for so long, and on the other hand curious enough to hear what he would like to say.
“I’m ready,” I said as I pushed the record button on the recorder, ready to hear the story that would apparently change my life, views and everything I had ever known to be true.